The Detroit Lions have declared their Week 18 injury designations ahead of their regular-season finale against the Minnesota Vikings and things have played out as expected based on participation levels throughout the week.
- WR Jameson Williams (ankle)
- TE Brock Wright (groin)
- EDGE James Houston (IR, ankle) — evaluation days remaining: 13
Williams and Wright were unable to practice all week—the third in a row for the tight end—and will be ruled out.
With Williams unable to play, that likely means Kalif Raymond or Donovan Peoples-Jones will step into the starting lineup alongside Amon-Ra St. Brown and Josh Reynolds. While Raymond is the more seasoned veteran, Peoples-Jones is more stylistically similar to Williams and would be an easier one-for-one replacement. It’s also very likely that rookie Antoine Green will be active as a depth option this week, after being a healthy scratch most of the season.
“(Peoples-Jones) has gotten better each and every week,” offensive coordinator Ben Johnson said on Thursday. “We’re very comfortable with where he’s at in the offense and his execution. Same thing with Antoine Green. If his number’s called, he’ll step up to the challenge and be in a great spot as well. So, yeah, if we have any concerns physically (with Williams), those guys normally aren’t out there and if they are out there, they’re full-go.”
Wright will miss his third game in a row and it leaves Detroit with just two tight ends on the roster, after releasing Anthony Firkser on Thursday. The Lions could simply roll with two tight ends this week, or they could use a variety of replacement options. For example, they could use Dan Skipper as a sixth offensive lineman, possibly elevate fullback Jason Cabinda from the practice squad, or even potentially re-sign Firkser to the practice squad and elevate him for the game, if he clears waivers.
Houston will not be activated from injured reserve this week, and coach Dan Campbell seemed to suggest he faces an uphill battle to return for next week’s Wild Card playoff game as well. Houston is making progress but there is still work to be done.
- DT Benito Jones (illness)
- DT Alm McNeill (IR, knee) — evaluation days remaining: 18
- DB C.J. Gardner-Johnson (IR, pectoral) — evaluation days remaining: 5
Jones is dealing with an illness but was able to return to a full practice on Friday and looks to be headed in the right direction to play on Sunday.
McNeill and Gardner-Johnson are both expected to be activated from injured reserve this weekend and available to play against the Vikings. The Lions have already cleared two roster spots— Isaiah Buggs and Firkser—in anticipation of their return.
- TE Sam LaPorta (ankle)
- LT Taylor Decker (groin)
- C Frank Ragnow (toe/back/knee)
- RG Graham Glasgow (rest)
- CB Cameron Sutton (toe)
LaPorta was practicing in full on Friday and will be in the starting lineup against the Vikings. The Lions starting offensive line has taken their appropriate rest days and appears good to go for Sunday. Sutton got in a complete week of full practices and is also ready to play.
Vikings injury designations
- WR Jalen Nailor (concussion)
- RT Brian O’Neill (ankle)
- DL Jaquelin Roy (ankle)
- CB Byron Murphy Jr (knee)
- CB Mekhi Blackmon (shoulder)
- S Theo Jackson (toe)
- LT Christian Darrisaw (illness)
- OG Ed Ingram (shoulder)
Not listed with an injury designation
- TE Nick Muse (knee)
- S Harrison Smith (shoulder)